Curriculum

Friday Workshops: These are the main teaching events each month. Each workshop includes:
– Meditation
– Dharma talk on the parami of the month
– Lectures, group discussion, and experiential learning exercises
– Lunch break with sangha of participants and faculty
– Brief concluding ritual for use in chaplaincy

Topics covered:
– September:  Karuna (compassion); defining ‘chaplaincy’; community formation
– October:  Dana (generosity); active listening; extemporaneous prayer
– November:  Sila (virtue); spiritual care ethics; guided meditation
– December:  Nekkamma (renunciation); bereavement; end-of-life care
– January:  Panna (wisdom); spiritual assessment; mutually beneficial service
– February:  Virya (strength); religious identities & beliefs; religious heritage
– March:  Khanti (patience); self-care & personal resilience; attending to suffering
– April:  Sacca (truth); the role of truth-telling; case studies
– May:  Aditthana (resolve): applied dharmology; rituals & ceremonies
– June:  Metta (loving kindness): sexuality & transference; care for communities
– July:  Upekkha (equanimity): transitions; honorable closure

Assignments Each Month:
– Dharma practice with the assigned Paramita
– Approximately 100 pages of book reading and 10 pages of relevant articles
– One to two writing assignments
– Meet with your Small Group
– Meet with your Buddy
– Meet 1:1 with faculty for Mentor Meeting (every other month)

Communication: Between classes, we rely on technology to communicate. Students must have access to a computer and website and group chat skills.
– Group chat: Between the September class and the October class, a group chat will be established on Slack. This allows direct communication with the entire group quickly and easily.
– Course handouts: After each month’s class, relevant handouts are posted to a password-protected course website.

Service Work (typically volunteer): This is one of the most important components of the training. It allows students to put into practice what they learn in class and to bring to class their experiences in doing chaplaincy work. The requirement for the program is approximately 10 hours of service work every month for ten months. Students serve at hospitals, hospices, correctional facilities, workplaces, etc. and are responsible for obtaining a position as such.  It is important that students engage in service work early in the program. Once accepted to this training, students should begin considering their options. Each student will need to declare his or her own placement of service by October. For a list of volunteer service possibilities based on previous student experiences, click here.   We do not place participants at certain locations, per se.  That is the responsibility of the participants.

Reading:  The book list for the course is here.  Approximately 100 pages of book reading are assigned each month per the schedule  here.  In addition, approximately 10 pages of relevant articles are posted on the course website after each Friday class.

Writing Assignments: Students write 4 types of papers over the course of the year, as described below. Each student is assigned a faculty person who reads all of their writings assignments for the entire year.  For a sampling of students writings, click here.
– Eight Dharma Reflection papers (1-2 pages each)
– Four Action Reflection papers (4-6 pages each) based on service work and the like.
– One Religious Heritage paper (3-5 pages) about one’s religious upbringing.
– One Applied Dharmology paper (4-6 pages) that articulates one’s core spiritual beliefs

Mentor Interviews: Every other month you will have an interview with one of the faculty. Over the course of the program you will have the chance to interview with each of them. These are times to check in about the program, report about your experiences and challenges in offering spiritual care, and to explore your Dharma practice in relation to the work you are doing.

Small Groups: Students meet with 3-4 peers on a monthly basis.  Each group decides when to meet, based on their schedules. The purpose of small group meetings is to integrate one’s experiences into learning through peer discussion and exploration.

Self-Directed Study / Group Study: The diagram below illustrates the various self-directed and group study components of the course.